News: Amazon Pushes Athletic Wear in Augmented Reality with Mo-Capped Fitness Models

Amazon Pushes Athletic Wear in Augmented Reality with Mo-Capped Fitness Models

Apparently, Amazon's new year's resolution is to bulk up its fitness fashion sales by pumping up its augmented reality muscles.

Last November, Amazon updated its iPhone and iPad apps with ARKit to display a limited selection of furniture, home decor, electronics, and toys in AR. Now a behind-the-scenes video has surfaced of an AR experience pushing athletic wear from Mission for a private event for media and influencers in New York.

Image by Groove Jones/YouTube

The retailer took a fairly unique approach with this new AR experience. Mission clothing was displayed on virtual animated fitness models, which users could place in their physical space. While the models performed their exercise routines, users were able to rotate through various Mission apparel styles and colors.

The AR content took shape via Groove Jones, a studio specializing in 360-degree video capture for virtual reality content. To create the experience, Groove Jones filmed fitness models with motion capture technology (see below) in order to construct the animated 3D models.

Image by Groove Jones/YouTube

But why use special effects usually reserved for Hollywood blockbusters when companies are already offering virtual try-on solutions for clothing retailers? Perhaps it's a signal that, looking toward possible future apps, Amazon may not be as confident in the realism of current full-body AR experiences.

Then again, in this case, seeing the outfits on athletic builds rather than on the average Joe or Jane's physique would likely be a greater motivating factor toward a purchase.

Image by Groove Jones/YouTube

According to a YouGov poll, getting more exercise is tied with eating healthier and saving more money as the most common New Year's resolutions for 2018. Why else would Planet Fitness practically bankroll ABC's New Year's Eve broadcast?

However, research also suggests that nearly 30% of resolutions are abandoned within the first week. So the AR app's tactic, even at a one-off event, might have been a bit late in terms of snagging the attention of would-be gym rats trying to shed pounds for the new year.

And while we can't confirm that this feature will make it into Amazon's official, public-facing app, it's nevertheless a cool proof-of-concept.

Update: Monday, Jan. 22: Groove Jones has since removed the video from YouTube.

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Cover image via Groove Jones/YouTube

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